Your Inner Chimp

One of my favorite new podcasts is Radio Lab. Think of it as the love child of Nova and This American Life. One of the most intriguing episodes dealt with Morality: What is it? Where does it come from? How does it work?

The podcast makes strong scientific arguments that morality doesn’t come from God above, it comes from Evolution below–a primate birthright. Down goes another Christianist argument. That deep-down feeling of right and wrong is your inner chimp nudging you.

The Triune Brain model proposed that behavior and brain structure map neatly as you walk back down the vertabrate branch of the evolutionary tree. New work with brain scans while confronting people with moral dilemmas supports the model and demonstrates how these layers sometimes don’t agree. There’s also evidence that humans have an inner referee part of the brain to help resolve such conflicts. It all looks much more evolved than “designed”.

Try Radio Lab’s episode on Morality. If you like it, try some of my other favorites: Sleep, Stress, and Emergence.

Programs like this remind me of how much more interesting an explorable, knowable universe is than one based on superstition and religious false certainty.

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